By Lethbridge Herald on December 11, 2020.
The ringing of bells at the Salvation Army Christmas Kettles will be replaced by a tap and a beep, but funds will still be raised across the province during the holiday season.
The Salvation Army will no longer have volunteers at their Christmas Kettle locations across the province as part of new safety protocols to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
The kettles will remain in those locations only where permitted and outfitted with an electronic donation option as well as signage to donate online, by phone, or via text message. Today was the last day for volunteers at the kettles.
“We’re anticipating that we will be able to leave our kettle stands out there, just not with a cash bubble attached to them,” said Donald Bladen, community ministries officer for the Salvation Army in Lethbridge and southwestern Alberta. “They are going to have the Tiptap. People can Tiptap and give a $5 donation. We’re going to leave those out all the way through until Christmas Eve.”
The Tiptap option works like a debit or credit card.
“There’s a graphic that is attached to the pole stand and it’s very visible,” said Bladen. “Within that graphic there is a little electronic pad that has a $5 insignia printed on it. People can take their debit or credit card and put it in front of that pad and do an electronic transaction of five dollars only. It’s safe and easy. Just like in the store, put your card up against the little reader and off you go.”
Other donation options will also be made available.
“You can call us at the church and we can process a credit card donation over the phone if they choose,” said Bladen. “They can also mail a cheque or drop a cheque off at the church location on 4 Avenue South. We also have a website called www.fillthekettle.com. That is a safe, secure online link and through the website they can choose the Legion and the location they would like to go to. So that’s all consolidated on a national level and once that’s done it’s all disbursed to where it’s supposed to go.”
Locals can also text a $5, $10, or $20 donation — a tax receipt is not possible — to GIVEHOPE to 41010.
The Salvation Army has been serving Albertans since 1887.
Kettle donations stay local to fund programs such as food bank services, hot meals, Christmas food and toy hampers, job search programs, counselling, ESL classes, back-to-school supplies and more.
The Christmas donations are crucial for more than just the holiday season.
“At the end of the day we do a lot at Christmas time and that’s when we are visible and people appreciate that with the toys and the gifts and the different things we do for families in need,” said Bladen. “But we depend on these donations throughout the course of the whole year. If we fall down on the job here in December, it’s going to impact the next 10 months of our new year. That’s the critical point we’re at right now. The volunteers on kettles are, by far, the most effective way of receiving donations because we are visible and have personal interaction. We’re moving more toward more of an electronic world everyday, there are still a lot of people who just aren’t there quite yet.”
Salvation Army Christmas Kettles in Lethbridge are located at the north and south Walmarts, Superstore, Park Place Mall, Costco and at the Save On Foods West location.
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